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Final Friday Reading Series
2000 South Boulevard, Suite 610
Friday, May 30, 2014 7-9 pm
Featured poet followed by open mic.
Hope you can join us.
Jesus, the Blessed One, mourns. Jesus mourns when his friend Lazarus dies (see John 11:33-36); he mourns when he overlooks the city of Jerusalem, soon to be destroyed (see Luke 19:41-44). Jesus mourns over all losses and devastations that fill the human heart with pain. He grieves with those who grieve and sheds tears with those who cry.
The violence, greed, lust, and so many other evils that have distorted the face of the earth and its people causes the Beloved Son of God to mourn. We too have to mourn if we hope to experience God’s consolation.
Full human life demands some shadowboxing with the shadow side of every reality. If we are not willing to do that, if we want the Republicans or the Democrats to be totally right, or America to be perfect, or our religion to be the only proper path, then we are incapable of depth or truth. When everything becomes a secure “belonging” system instead of a transformational experience, people simply locate themselves inside their little world of shared illusions. The fragile self quickly takes on a sense of identity and power by believing its self-serving illusions.
So we slide inside our created identities precisely because we have not found our Real Identity, as Paul says, “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). Before we meet our own soul, most identities are socially constructed by our family, friends, and culture. Once we find the “inner spring” within ourselves, which is the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39), we finally begin to be who we really are. Usually, that does not happen until the second half of life, after experiencing some failure and loss or loving someone deeply.
For example, look at the transformation of Saul into Paul. Saul was a “Pharisee among Pharisees” (Acts 23:6), yet this supposedly righteous man was a murderer of Christians. Saul’s encounter on the Damascus Road revealed to him that he was really one with Christ and with all people—anyway! When his literal and soul-blindness was lifted, Saul, now Paul, realized his true identity as a vessel of love (Acts 9). Same man, different perception!
from Dancing Standing Still: Healing the world from a Place of Prayer and Great Themes of Paul: Life as Participation
Writers Night Out
Butternut Creek Golf Course
Saturday, May 17, 6 pm social, 7 pm readings
Followed by open mic
The closer you get to the Light, the more of your shadow you see. Thus truly holy people are always humble people. As one master teacher cleverly put it, “Avoid spirituality at all costs; it is one humiliation after another!” It could have been a great service to Christians if shadow had been distinguished from sin. Sin and shadow are not the same. We were so encouraged to avoid sin that instead many of us avoided facing our shadow, and then we “sinned” even more—while remaining unaware besides!
As Paul taught, “The angels of darkness must disguise themselves as angels of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Any idealized persona does not choose to see evil in itself, so it always disguises it as good. The shadow self invariably presents its own selfishness as something like prudence, common sense, justice, or “I am doing this for your good,” when it is actually manifesting fear, control, manipulation, or even vengeance. (The name Lucifer literally means the “light bearer.” The evil one always makes darkness look like light—and makes light look like darkness.)
Invariably when something upsets you, and you have a strong emotional reaction out of proportion to the moment, your shadow self has just been exposed. So watch for any overreactions or over-denials in yourself. When you notice them, the cock has just crowed (Mark 14:68)!
The reason that a mature or saintly person can be so peaceful, so accepting of self and others, is that there is not much hidden shadow self left. (There is always and forever a little more, however! No exceptions. Shadow work never stops.) The denied and disguised self takes so much energy to face, awaken, and transform that normally you have little energy left to project your fear, anger, or unlived life onto others.
from Falling Upward: A Spirituality For the Two Halves of Life
Your Loyal Soldier tells you to be socially vigilant: How am I coming across? Will people like me? Will this be acceptable? Will this help me succeed? Your Loyal Soldier can serve you well by giving you some social niceties and protection. But after you’ve lived out of these niceties for years, they become your idealized self, your persona, your chosen public image, your False Self. To protect this image, all the contrary and negative aspects of yourself have to go underground, hidden from others and even from your own awareness. These forgotten and denied qualities make up what many call the “shadow” self.
Frankly, much of the movement from the first half of life to the second half of life is shadowboxing. Shadow work involves facing the negative part of yourself that you’re not proud of, like those hateful thoughts that you have once in a while that you hope nobody knows about. Or recognizing the log in your own eye when you’re confronted with the speck in someone else’s eye. This is humiliating, necessary work in every human life.
When you get your False Self (and the Loyal Soldier who is protecting this self) out of the way, the soul stands revealed. The soul, or True Self, cannot be created or worked for. It is, and it is already. The soul is God’s “I AM” continued in you, the part of you that already knows, desires, and truly seeks God. Ironically, the Loyal Soldier that you mistook for God actually defends you from God! I suspect this is exactly what the Dominican Meister Eckhart (c. 1260–c. 1327) meant when he said, “I pray God to rid me of ‘God’!”
From Discharging Your Loyal Soldier and Near Occasions of Grace
Note: It’s not “God save me from your people”; it’s God save me from myself.
The goodness of God fills all the gaps of the universe, without discrimination or preference. God is the gratuity of absolutely everything. The space in between everything is not space at all but Spirit. God is the “goodness glue” that holds the dark and light of things together, the free energy that carries all death across the Great Divide and transmutes it into Life. When we say that Christ “paid the debt once and for all,” it simply means that God’s job is to make up for all the deficiencies in the universe. What else would God do?
Grace is not something God gives; grace is who God is. Grace is God’s official job description. Grace is what God does to keep all things that God has created in love alive—forever. If we are to believe the primary witnesses—the mystics, the saints, the transformed people—an unexplainable goodness is at work in the universe. (Some of us call this phenomenon God, but that word is not necessary. In fact, sometimes it gets in the way of the experience, because too many have named God something other than Grace.)
from Immortal Diamond: The Search For Our True Self and The Enneagram and Grace: Nine Journeys to Divine Presence